ONLINE EXCLUSIVE — Cardinals soaring, Lions roaring

Andrew Alexander

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE — Cardinals soaring, Lions roaring
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No Cardinal football player was alive the last time Adamsville played Dresden. No Cardinal football player was alive the last time Adamsville played in the state semifinals either. With a berth in the Class 2A State Championship game on the line, there is no doubt both teams will be leaving everything on the field Friday night.

Adamsville last played in the state semifinal game in 1985. Their fate, a 27-6 loss to Lake County.

The last matchup between the Cardinals and the Lions was played in 1984, and AHS lost 18-8. In the three games between the Cardinals and Lions, Dresden has been the victor twice.

Dresden enters their first semifinal game in school history as the fifth seed from the fourth quadrant, sporting an 11-2 record. In 2010 the Lions advanced to the second round of the playoffs before falling 33-0 to Riverside and finishing their season 9-3. Dresden had only eight wins in the prior three seasons combined.

The Lions' two losses in 2011 came against Huntingdon, who ended their season last week with a loss in the 1A quarterfinals, and McKenzie early in the year. Dresden got payback on the Rebels with a 35-7 win on the road in the first round of the playoffs.

The numbers say this one will be close. Adamsville is scoring 28.2 points per game, and Dresden is scoring 28.8. The Cardinals do have the edge on defense, allowing 12.8 points per game to the Lions' 16.2.

Adamsville's Head Coach, Brandon Gray, says the Lions will undoubtedly present a huge challenge for his team, but ultimately for the Cardinals to lose, they'll have to beat themselves.

“They have a good quarterback. They're not going to be very big, but they're going to play hard, and they seem to be well coached,” Gray said. “It's going to be a tough game. When you get to the final four in the state, everybody's tough.”

AHS is the only remaining #1 seed left in the playoffs. The Cardinals are riding an 11-game win streak into the contest, and if victorious against Dresden, will travel to Cookeville, Tenn on Dec. 3 to take on the winner of Oliver Springs (9-4) and Friendship Christian (10-3) for the 2011 BlueCross Bowl Division I Class 2A State Championship.

“We need to focus on the mistakes we make and get them corrected,” said Gray. “If we go out and execute, I think we can come out with a 'W' and go to Cookeville and play for a state championship. I really do”

Adamsville has won 10 games in a row at Lendon Martin Memorial Stadium and has not lost at home since Oct. 8, 2011.

Kickoff for the Class 2A State Playoff Semifinal is scheduled for 7 p.m. Admission, due to TSSAA regulations, is $8 at the gate.